WORSHAM, HAGAN WIN FIRST NHRA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2011) – Del Worsham and Matt Hagan both won their first NHRA world championships as the season-ending Auto Club of Southern California Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona put an exclamation point in the 2011 drag racing year.
Then they both won the race and it all happened on Goodyear tires.
Worsham and Hagan race in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for professionals. Goodyear also took wins in two other NHRA series at Pomona.
Worsham, a 21-year veteran of racing in the nitro categories, won the Top Fuel championship in the semi final round when he beat Spencer Massey. Massey finished closest to Worsham in the championship standings.
Hagan won his title when he beat Cruz Pedregon in the same round of racing. Pedregon was the last driver with a chance to catch Hagan in the title hunt.
“The semi final round was by far the biggest round of my 21-year career,” Worsham said. “When I cleared the traps (at the finish line), I had no idea I had even won.”
Jason Line clinched the Pro Stock championship two weeks earlier. Greg Stanfield won the Pro Stock final at Pomona.
Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock categories, the only professional, four-wheel categories in NHRA racing.
“We had cool track temperatures most of the weekend and then warmer temps on Sunday,” said Bryce Jones, Goodyear’s sales account manager for drag racing. “Our Goodyear Eagles performed very well all four days. All of us at Goodyear congratulate the champions in both the professional and sportsman categories.”
Hagan, who came excruciatingly close to winning the Funny Car title in 2010, won the race when he beat former champion Robert Hight in the finals. Hagan’s elapsed time in the final, 4.009 seconds, was the third quickest in category history. Hight’s speed, 318.92 mph, was the fourth fastest in Funny Car history.
“It really is truly amazing this weekend to win the championship and win the race. We had some phenomenal things happen this year,” Hagan said.
Worsham said the final round was a fun experience after locking away the title.
“There have only been a couple of times in my career when I came into the final and there really was no pressure,” Worsham said. Relaxed, he beat Tony Schumacher in the final.
In the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for sportsmen, Jim Whiteley won the final round of Top Alcohol Dragster on Goodyear tires, his 13th victory in a national event. Another Goodyear-shod TAD racer, Duane Shields, clinched the national championship at Pomona.
In the NHRA’s Summit series, Goodyear tires helped two other drivers win at Pomona. Mark Horton won in Super Pro and Edmond Richardson was the winner in Sportsman.